Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Is Reporting Earnings on Saturday. Here’s What to Expect.

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Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway


Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images


Berkshire Hathaway

is expected to report strong second-quarter results on Saturday, including a 7% rise in its book value and a 10% increase in operating earnings.

Berkshire (ticker: BRK.A and BRK.B) likely benefited in the second quarter from a 10% gain in the value of its roughly $300 billion equity portfolio, with about half that appreciation driven by a 12% increase in the share price of

Apple

(AAPL), Berkshire’s largest equity holding at more than $120 billion.

This estimate on investment portfolio gains comes from Edward Jones analyst James Shanahan who has a Buy rating on the stock.

Investors will be focused on book value, earnings, and stock repurchases given that CEO Warren Buffett has ramped up the buyback program in recent quarters. The buybacks in the period should total about $6.5 billion, in line with the $6.6 billion in the first quarter.

This estimate of second-quarter repurchases is based on a filing that Buffett made of his Berkshire holdings in late June after his annual donation of stock to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other philanthropies.

The filing showed Buffett’s percentage ownership of Berkshire on June 21 stood at 15.8%. Barron’s calculated a share count for that date based on that figure and compared it with the shares outstanding on March 31 to estimate the buybacks in the second quarter.

Berkshire’s buybacks have run at about 1% of the shares outstanding a quarter during 2021, with the company valued at about $640 billion.

Berkshire’s class A shares, which were up 0.2%, to $420,585, on Thursday, have risen almost 21% this year, outpacing the S&P 500 index, which has gained about 18%. Berkshire’s more liquid class B shares were up 0.3%, to $279.48, Thursday

Shanahan of Edward Jones estimates that book value stood at $314,000 per class A shares on June 30, up 7% from the March 31 level. That would mean that Berkshire stock now trades for about 1.3 times its estimated June 30 book value, slightly below the five-year average price/book ratio.

Berkshire’s earnings growth in the second quarter may have been powered by its largest single unit, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, as well as its many industrial and housing-related businesses. Berkshire’s after-tax operating earnings are expected to increase 10% to $2.51 per class B share, according to FactSet.

Berkshire owns Clayton Homes, a maker of manufactured housing, Shaw Industries, a producer of carpet and other flooring, and Benjamin Moore, a maker of paints. Burlington Northern’s rival railroad in the western half of the country,

Union Pacific

(UNP), recently reported a 50% increase in second-quarter operating income relative to the year-earlier period.

Investors also will be interested to see whether Berkshire was a net buyer of stocks in the second quarter. Buffett has seen limited opportunities in recent quarters, and Berkshire was a net seller of $3 billion of stocks in the first quarter. His biggest purchase in recent quarters has been

Verizon Communications

(VZ). Berkshire owns about $8 billion of the telecom company.

Write to Andrew Bary at andrew.bary@barrons.com

Harry Byrne

Harry Byrne

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